Have Baby Will Travel’s trip reports for Jamaica are organized alphabetically by city or region within the country. Simply scroll down to read them all or use the Fast Finder. Each trip report has been provided to Have Baby Will Travel in hopes of giving other parents a clearer picture of what to expect when traveling to Jamaica with a baby or toddler.
FALMOUTH: FDR PEBBLES
Peggy & Family (baby 2yrs)
We spent 5 nights at FDR Pebbles with our two-year-old daughter. The resort is not brand new and more lodge-like than posh, but the resort and grounds were well maintained and the staff was very courteous. Our vacation nanny Tina was wonderful with our daughter.
Ahead of time, we were a little hesitant about letting our daughter go off with essentially a stranger, but once we were there and saw how great all the nannies were with the kids, we became comfortable with the idea. We were able to enjoy snorkelling, scuba and a quiet dinner out one night while our daughter made tie-dye, leaf art, swam in the pool and fed goats and turtles — and we had plenty of time together in the mornings, evenings and when the Nanny was at lunch.
Food at the main buffet was better than at similar resorts we’ve stayed at, and the Jamaican restaurant was quite good. Took the historical tour of Falmouth, and were able to get great prices on local coffee, rum and hot sauce at the town supermarket.
LUCEA: GRAND PALLADIUM LADY HAMILTON RESORT & SPA
Stan & Family (babies 2yrs & 3mos)
My family and I (wife, 2-year-old daughter, and 3-month-old son) decided on this resort after I did a significant amount of research on the internet. We stayed the week of Sept 27th. The only other time we have stayed as a family was in Mexico was at the Gran Bahia Principe – Riviera Maya. As a couple my wife and I have stayed in Bahamas at Sandyport Beaches Resort, and in St Lucia on our honeymoon at Windjammer Landing. Therefore these resorts will serve as our past experiences and basis of comparison.
FLIGHT AND MONTEGO BAY AIRPORT
We flew with Air Transat and had a very enjoyable flight with no problems. The only hiccup occurred when the airline told all passengers on the flight that we only had to fill in ONE CUSTOMS FORM PER FAMILY. When we arrived at Jamaican customs, after a VERY long walk (I was carrying my daughter and her carseat was on my shoulder while my wife had our infant son) they told us this was not the case and it was one form per family member. The entire flight had to stop and fill out more forms and this was not a pleasant experience so we blame Air Transat for that one. Customs itself was fine and the woman was very personable. Our luggage took FOREVER and since I was still holding my daughter and her very heavy carseat. We decided to bring our double stroller as it has plenty of storage and makes transporting the kids much easier. We found out that traveling with it is very challenging. Once it was assembled we were on our way. The Transat rep was easy to find and we were on our bus in no time.
When we checked-in and received our welcome drinks (Rum Punch) we noticed one error as we had booked a one bedroom suite and not a junior suite. I pointed it out and the clerk said he did not have the authority to make the change and we had to wait for his manager who was helping a very demanding couple next to us. I took literally 20 minutes for her to help us (not her fault at all) and the problem was corrected. Our luggage was brought to our room in carts while we walked there.
Best room and view we have ever had at any resort. Spacious, modern, and with two flat screen plasma TVs. It took us a few minutes to realize we needed to use our room key to turn on the lights. Some others have mentioned the AC goes out if you take your key out of the socket but this is not true as the AC stays on regardless. Bathroom had a nice slate shower, with a separate jacuzzi tub and a marble sink. Very nice!! We had two balconies overlooking the beach and ocean with some obstructed views. Overall very awesome first impression!
ELEVATORS AND ACCESSIBILTY
Usually I don’t bother with commenting on elevators but when you push around a double stroller for a week you see things from a different perspective. Firstly, there are only two elevators on the whole resort one in the Lady Hamilton lobby and the other in the Jamaica lobby, both don’t work and HAVE NEVER WORKED. The only way for us to get around the stairs was to go around either lobby and take the path for the carts. It was a good work-out I tell you! After a while it got pretty annoying but the extra exercise was good. All hotel units have no elevators as well. Therefore, we had to transport our double stroller sometimes with two sleeping kids up three flights of stairs! While we loved the view we requested and received a room on the 2nd floor. We were offered a ground floor room but I don’t feel safe knowing anybody could possibly come into our room at any time so we took the 2nd floor. It was much easier only going down one level. So we managed. If you are handicapped and in a wheelchair I strongly suggest you reconsider going here as it will be very difficult to get around. Without help you would not even be able to get into the pools.
POOLS AND SPA
While impressive and very grand the main pool is literally falling apart daily. Tiles can be pulled off and there are areas where there are holes in the pool floor. This is something I cannot get over. For such a new resort the pool was poorly constructed however I cannot entirely blame Fiesta Hotels (owners of all Palladium resorts) as there are other “cultural issues” at play. On the positive the main pool had a very nice depth to it which made swimming easier. In other resorts I always find the pool too shallow but here it was perfect. I’m 6’3 and it was up to my chest. The other pools in the resort are also very nice but plagued with the same construction issues. The relax pool had even deeper water which went up to my neck!!!
The spa is very nice. It is completely shaded which was great and a necessity with our infant son. We spent quite a bit of time there. We noticed that the pool was not cleaned very often throughout the day and as a result was full of little caterpillar-like worms. Not very sanitary at all!! On our last day they were fixing all three of the hot tubs on the spa. As a result when we left there was not one functioning hot tub on the entire resort. Disappointing.
In a word, amazing!! The most warm and friendly people we have ever encountered on vacation. Everywhere we went and anytime of day we were greeted with a warm smile and hello. From maintenance workers to housekeeping, waiters, reception – we really felt welcome. Nothing negative to say about them at all.
BARS AND RESTAURANTS
I felt there were not enough bars and in particular there needs to be a lobby bar. I spoke with Hotel management and they agreed and will likely add this. We loved the infinity bar for its great ocean views and atmosphere. One note unlike other resorts they do not water down the drinks at all here, they are quite strong so you definitely get your money’s worth!! Also, if you read my Gran Bahia review you will realize I am quite anal when it comes to the right margarita, and I can say they make a great one here zero complaints. On the whole the bartenders and waitresses were fantastic!!!
I really like the unlimited a-la carte philosophy. Unlike other resorts, no reservations were required and we could come back multiple times. The resort was at 20% capacity so that may have something to do with it. As for the restaurants our favourites were: Creole, Indian, Asian. We did not like the steakhouse at all and I’d recommend not eating there. The meal is downright awful.
We only went to the beach one morning and after only a few minutes we were bit by sand flies and another guest told us the water had sea urchins so that was the end of the beach for us – with kids you have to be extra careful.
Very underwhelmed. The food was great but the variety was terrible. After a couple days it got pretty tedious. You basically have no choice to eat here for breakfast. For lunch the buffet is a little better. The good thing is the Italian a-la-cart restaurant is open if you want pasta, pizza or panini. One thing to note is that there are two main breakfast buffets but only one is open.
All in all we had a great time!! Yes, being the perfectionist I am I like things to be right but the resort if going through growing pains it’s perfectly natural. The pool is spectacular and there is an abundance of shade. The food is fantastic but the buffets can get boring. Once they get things ironed out and the construction is fixed I know this will be a spectacular resort. If you are handicapped I suggest waiting until the elevators are fixed. Before I forget, some reviews have mentioned that resort is huge. I beg to differ – we found it quite small. You can walk from one lobby to the other in mere minutes. You can walk from one end of the resort to another in 5 minutes. I can’t believe some people comment they needed carts to get around. Unless you are handicapped there is NO REASON to take a cart anywhere. You want large? The Gran Bahia in Mexico is large – it will take 40 minutes to walk from one end to the other. In the end that was our only real issue with this resort it was too small. We like multiple resorts in one complex as it adds variety. Which is why we plan to stay at the Grand Palladium White Sand resort for our next vacation. However, we also plan to come back here in 1-2 years once all the kinks have been worked out and the resort expands even more.
MONTEGO BAY: ROSE HALL HOLIDAY INN SUNSPREE MONTEGO BAY RESORT
Mike & Family
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Sunspree from june 9-16. We were in building one – rooms 1402-1404. These rooms were connected – one had a king for my wife the baby and myself the other had two queens for my three big kids. We had oceanview rooms which were good – no complaints. You could hear the noise but you are so tired from being in the pool all day that it didn’t matter.
They have a big property so it was close to everything. My kids had a blast and so did my wife. The kids had a little trouble with they food but they survived – get the Jamaican beef strip steak it was great!
When you go across the street hit the very first store the left has good stuff – cigars were cheap. I did the ATV tour, it was the best money I spent there – gotta do it!
Overall check in was fast, we waited only 10 min. Food was decent and the pool was good. The kids had a blast. Dont listen to bad reviews you get what you pay for and I think it was money well spent!
Go and have good time – say hi to Lebert, the bartender at the barefoot bar.
MONTEGO BAY: ROYAL DECAMERON MONTEGO BEACH
Cecelia & Family (baby 5mos)
We got an unbeatable deal so needless to say, we were a little worried.
It was very family-friendly and the rooms and grounds were clean and comfortable. We aren’t into the all-inclusive thing, but ended up eating out only once. We were there at a busy time (Easter weekend) but it didn’t feel crowded. The staff was friendly and helpful.
Small but great beach (bring your snorkel stuff) and the activities seemed fun for those into that kind of thing.
MONTEGO BAY: SUNSET BEACH RESORT & SPA
Wendy & Family
After reading a million negative reviews of SSB I was scared since I had already booked it. I shouldn’t have worried. People who complained the way they did are out of their minds!
I went from June 22-27 with my mom, my husband, my 9 year old son, 3 year old daughter and 11 month old daughter. They couldn’t have had a better time.
The bottom line with this place is that if you have little kids, especially toddler, preschool aged kids, you will love this place for so many reasons. The beaches have completely smooth clear water – no waves. There are 3 beaches. The one in the middle is a little bit rocky, we just went to the other ones. The beaches are perfectly fine! We bought water shoes because of all the terrible reviews, and never even used them. The waterpark was unbelievable, and beautiful. They even have a little separate pool with a little kids’ waterslide (my 3 year old had to be dragged away each time!).
The food was just fine, even good. Everyone ate just fine. You can always sit outside, and never have to wait for anything…drinks, food, bar service, beach towels. We were there when they had 100% occupancy, and you wouldn’t believe it. Beach chairs galore, lots of shade.
Really, if you want a great vacation for your little kids, who cares what the room looks like? They will truly have the times of their lives at SSB.
P.S. I am a completely normal, middle class person. My husband and I are both teachers, and we have been to practically every island in the Caribbean, and for little kids this one cannot be beat! There is even mini golf and ping pong!!
My kids and I have been staying at White Sands at least once a year for 18 years. I have experienced this hotel with them as infants, small children, teenagers and now one of them is a young adult. No matter what age, the hotel has always been comfortable and safe. What we love about this hotel is how friendly everyone is and how welcome we feel. It seems that each time we come, many of the other guests are also repeat visitors who have gotten to know each other over the years, and feel the same way we do about White Sands. There is a big family feeling about the place. Francis in the office, and the rest of the staff, add to the friendly feeling.
This is not a fancy hotel, but the rooms are spacious and very comfortable. There are air conditioners in each room, and some rooms have ceiling fans. Sometimes we stay in a room with a kitchenette, which is really convenient, but otherwise, we make do with just the room fridge. Personally, I love it that there are no TVs in the rooms- it’s good to get away from that once a year. (I always bring a radio though so I can listen to local stations).
The prices are very reasonable also; I think that this is one of the least expensive hotels in Negril.
Negril is a wonderful place, and the beach is amazing. I love Jamaica, which is probably obvious since I keep coming back. But all these years I’ve been coming to White Sands as a single mother; first with one small boy, and then later with him and an infant, and I have always felt safe and comfortable. That has meant a lot to me. I highly recommend this hotel to anyone who wants to enjoy Negril comfortably and inexpensively.
RUNAWAY BAY: FRANKLYN D. RESORT & SPA
Pauline & Family
I went to FDR in January after reading all the good reviews on the internet. I have 3 kids (2, 6 & 9) and the idea of a nanny at no additional cost for 8 hrs of the day was too much to resist. I am a stay at home mom, so I needed a “break” from the kids. It was the best vacation of my life! The nanny was so professional and the kids took to her right away.
They have lots of activities for the kids and even my 2 yr old got her face painted and tried to do tie-dye (very cute). They have little contests/pageant shows for the kids at nights, my girls loved that! Lots of variety in food, lots of fresh fruits, fish, jerk chicken (yum) and I even managed to have a romantic dinner with hubby at their Italian Restaurant (adults only – yes!). The babysitting service after 4:40pm is so worth it, US$6 per hour and the nanny has the kids for the night.
Did I mention the rooms?! Lots of space for the 5 of us, we got upgraded to a 2-bdr suite, which was like a little apartment! The beautiful nanny stocks the fridge with snacks for the kids (cereal, crackers, milk, cheese etc.) – no cost, separate bedrooms for us but more importantly, separate bathrooms!! We were in heaven! The hardest part of this vacation was leaving! We will definitely be back next year!!
RUNAWAY BAY: FRANKLYN D. RESORT & SPA
Corinne & Family (baby 16mos)
I was delighted to finally visit Franklyn D. Resort & Spa in Runaway Bay, Jamaica after hearing about the FDR Resorts and their vacation nanny program for years!
It is an incredibly casual and intimate environment with spacious (and spotless) rooms, warm and friendly staff, good food, and no stress. Our nannies were Carmelina and Loraine, and they were exceptional. My children took to them straight away, and quite frankly I’m shocked at how easily I succombed to having two extra pairs of hands help look after the children!
We actually had the Honeymoon Suite, which was two enormous rooms, a spacious bathroom with a giant tub, and a door that literally stepped out onto the beach. Our fridge was stocked each day with essentials for keeping the kids snacked and watered, and mama had a beer or two stashed in there for the end of the day (all included).
We found the food to be good – excellent jerk at the poolside grill and the breakfasts were excellent. Both my 4-year-old daughter and 16-month-old son had a fresh fruit smoothie every day, and they both ate really well for the duration of our trip.
I traveled with my mother-in-law, as my poor husband had to work. She really enjoyed the surroundings, and although she doesn’t have any mobility issues, her legs tire easily so she was grateful the resort grounds weren’t too vast and all the paths were accessible. We had no trouble with our stroller. A small issue is that all dining is open air, and it gets hot quite early in Jamaica in August. If you want to eat inside with air conditioning you’ll have to bring your meal to your room. Not a huge issue as most rooms have tables and chairs.
The beach is pretty small, so if you love to look at a wide expanse of sand, you’ll be a little disappointed. However, you do have access to the beach next door at Breezes, but keep in mind that it’s a 14+ resort so children won’t be exactly welcomed. We found the FDR beach great for the kids – my daughter loved to padldle around and I had no concerns of a rogue wave coming to knock down my son.
We loved our vacation nannies Carmelina and Loraine, we loved the casual, barefoot atmosphere, we loved the lush gardens and symphonic tree frogs and we loved chatting with other vacationing families – from right in Jamaica and from many other parts of the world. So I guess, in short, we loved the FDR Resort, and won’t hesitate to return (although we may try Pebbles next time).
I also have published a a complete in-depth review of FDR Resort Jamaica – I hope you’ll take the time to read it!